A teacher asked me, just the other day, ‘What has happened to text types?’ We have discussed that several times on this blog but I happily provided an answer. The question was asked in the week that the newspapers reported that NAPLAN writing results were down because teachers hadn’t been given the text type before the test and so the teachers couldn’t give students a crash course on the required text type.
I think this sums up the reason why the emphasis has changed. We want students who are life long writers with the skills needed to write independently and confidently. This can be achieved when students are aware of the purpose of their writing and the audience who will read their writing. This knowledge will enable any writer to shape the text features and language features to best meet the selected purpose and audience.
Previously we just provided students with a template or strait jacket of text types without a thorough understanding of purpose and audience. The reciprocity between responding and composing is central to the NSW English syllabus. Students can respond to texts they read by evaluating the way a composer has met the purpose and audience for their text. Next students can experiment with similar text features and language features, to meet their purpose and audience, in their own writing.
This process will help to build confident and life long writers.